Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Obama: If Daughters Get Tattoos, We Will Too

Obama: If Daughters Get Tattoos, We Will Too

President Obama visited the the “Today Show” on Wednesday morning and explained how he and the first lady plan to keep their daughters from getting tattoos.

“What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo,” Obama said. “And our thinking is that might dissuade them from thinking that somehow that’s a good way to rebel.”

Two Women Shot At By LAPD During Dorner Manhunt Settle for $4.2 Million

Two Women Shot At By LAPD During Dorner Manhunt Settle for $4.2 Million

The women injured when Los Angeles police opened fire on them during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner have reached a $4.2-million settlement with the city, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich told the LA Times.

Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7, when officers mistook their blue Toyota Tacoma for Dorner’s gray Nissan Titan. Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza sustained minor injuries from broken glass.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called the shooting “a tragic misinterpretation” by officers working under “incredible tension” hours after Dorner allegedly shot police officers.

Trutanich told the Times the agreement was a “no brainer because the costs were going to skyrocket.”

“We got out of this thing pretty cheaply all things considered,” he said.

Family Of Missing Brown Student Misidentified as Boston Bomber Issues Statement

Family Of Missing Brown Student Misidentified as Boston Bomber Issues Statement

The Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed today the body found earlier this week in waters off Providence is that of Sunil Tripathi, the missing Brown University student who disappeared more than a month ago. Tripathi’s name made national headlines earlier this month after users on social news forums said the Indian-American student resembled one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

“On April 23, our beloved Sunil was discovered in the waters off India Point Park in Providence, Rhode Island,” the Tripathi family’s statement read on Facebook.

“As we carry indescribable grief, we also feel incredible gratitude. To each one of you-from our hometown to many distant lands-we extend our thanks for the words of encouragement, for your thoughts, for your hands, for your prayers, and for the love you have so generously shared,” the note continued.

“Your compassionate spirit is felt by Sunil and by all of us.”

“This last month has changed our lives forever, and we hope it will change yours too. Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it.”

The statement was published on the Facebook page the family started to help find their son. It was the same page the family took down because of racist hate messages they received minutes after Tripathi was labeled as the Boston Bomber on sites like Reddit. At the time, news reporters also gathered in front of their home looking to speak to the family of the supposed bomber.

The Tripathi family closed their statement with a few meaningful words.

“With love, The Tripathi Family”

Sierra Club Officially Endorses Immigration Reform

Sierra Club Officially Endorses Immigration Reform

The Sierra Club officially endorsed immigration reform today. The environmental organization’s president Allison Chin published a statement saying “we cannot solve either the climate crisis or our broken immigration system by acting out of fear or by supporting exclusion.”

The Sierra Club Board of Directors announced they unanimously adopted supporting immigration reform:

Currently at least 11 million people live in in the U.S. in the shadows of our society. Many of them work in jobs that expose them to dangerous conditions, chemicals and pesticides, and many more of them live in areas with disproportionate levels of toxic air, water, and soil pollution. To protect clean air and water and prevent the disruption of our climate, we must ensure that those who are most disenfranchised and most threatened by pollution within our borders have the voice to fight polluters and advocate for climate solutions without fear.

The Sierra Club takes a position to support an equitable path to citizenship for residents of the United States who lack official documentation. America’s undocumented population should be able to earn legalization and a timely pathway to citizenship, with all the rights to fully participate in our democracy, including influencing environmental and climate policies. The pathway to citizenship should be free of unreasonable barriers, and should facilitate keeping families together and reuniting those that are split whenever possible.

“By establishing an equitable path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in America today, we can empower those in our society who are most vulnerable to toxic pollution to fully participate in our democracy, fight back against polluters and demand public health protections and clean energy solutions,” Allison Chin, Sierra Club president said in a statement.

Polls conducted by the Sierra Club found that Latinos support environmental and conservation efforts with even greater intensity than the average American: 90 percent of Latino voters favor clean energy over fossil fuels. In a blog post published on the organization’s website, Chin pointed also pointed out one “California study found that 74 percent of Asian-Americans, the fastest growing group in America, accept climate science. Yet, significant numbers of these stakeholders and change agents have been denied their civil rights in the public arena.”

UC Irvine Asian-American Frat’s Awful Blackface Video As Bad As It Sounds

UC Irvine Asian-American Frat's Awful Blackface Video As Bad As It Sounds

Members of UC Irvine’s Asian-American fraternity Lambda Theta Delta put their racial ignorance on display last week when they released a video of a student wearing blackface. The college community, which caught wind of the video this week when a YouTube user reuploaded the deleted video, is predictably outraged.

The video includes four Asian-American men dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” to promote the spring induction of the fraternity’s new recruits. One man in blackface plays the part of Jay-Z. It is the very definition of bad taste. I watched as much of it as I could stomach and cringed during the worst of it.

With their racist antics LTD is carrying on the long and horrid tradition of campus racism, which is its own genre of racial antagonism. C. Richard King and David Leonard broke down the history of college goers partying in blackface in the pages of Colorlines—in 2007. King and Leonard describe the “ghetto fabulous” parties of yore as a reactionary aggression toward demands for “political correctness”—but what’s going on seems to be just as much the result of endemic racial ignorance.

Over 100 Chicago Students Boycott Standardized Test to Protest School Closures

Over 100 Chicago Students Boycott Standardized Test to Protest School Closures

On Wednesday a hundred Chicago student activists angry about the city’s plans to shut down dozens of public high schools boycotted state standardized tests to send a message to the district.

“Today we are boycotting the second day of PSAE to show that standardized testing should not decide the future of our schools and students,” boycotting student Alexssa More, a senior at Lindblom High School, said at the protest, Chicago CBS reported. The Prairie State Achievement Examination is a mandatory state standardized test. Over 300 schools from more than 25 Chicago public schools headed to Chicago Public Schools headquarters downtown to take part in the action, Common Dreams reported. CBS put the number at 100 students.

A student-led coalition called Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools organized the action. CSOSOS argues that the planned closure of public schools will destabilize neighborhood communities. Many have pointed out that the planned closures are overwhelmingly concentrated in black and Latino neighborhoods, and thus that the supposed reforms have a disproportionate impact on students of color. What’s more, CSOSOS and other testing critics argue that the test-driven metrics that are a central part of the move to siphon students away from neighborhood schools are an inaccurate and extremely narrow way of gauging a school’s health.

Chicago students are not alone. Around the country educators, parents and lawmakers fed up with the abuse and misuse of standardized testing to exact a punitive market-based school reform agenda are fighting back against the testing regime. Check out the Colorlines.com infographic mapping the nationwide resistance to overtesting.

PHOTO: First Ladies At Bush Library

PHOTO: First Ladies At Bush Library

(L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, former first lady Laura Bush, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former first lady Barbara Bush and former first lady Rosalynn Carter attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

The library is the 13th presidential library in the National Archives and Records Administration system.

Watch 70K People Tell The New York Times to Drop The I-Word

Watch 70K People Tell The New York Times to Drop The I-Word Play

On Tuesday April 23, 2013, on the eve of renewed debate around U.S. immigration policy, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines, and the Drop the I-Word campaign led a coalition of activists, including Fernando Chavez (the son of Cesar Chavez) and Jose Antonio Vargas, to deliver 70,000 signatures to the New York Times, urging them to stop using the dehumanizing and inaccurate term “illegal immigrant” in their news coverage. We caught the action on tape, of course. Check it out.

Will the Courts Block Deferred Action? Keep Calm and Apply For DACA

Will the Courts Block Deferred Action? Keep Calm and Apply For DACA

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Dallas indicated he was likely to block President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process. The case was brought on by Kris Kobach, the conservative Kansas politician who helped draft a number of the country’s most draconian anti-immigration bills, on behalf of ICE Union Boss Christopher Crane and ten other officers and agents.

The lawsuit alleges the deferred action program will prevent ICE officers, employees, and agents from “fulfilling their sworn oath to uphold the law and defend the US Constitution.”

“The court finds that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings,” O’Connor wrote in the 38-page decision, Business Week reports.

Still O’Connor, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, said he can’t decide the case based on the arguments he’s heard so far.

“Accordingly, the court hereby defers ruling on the plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction until the parties have submitted additional briefing,” O’Connor said.

Even though O’Connor has not issued a decision in the case, Lorella Praeli, Director of Advocacy and Policy at United We Dream, says there is one thing that is clear.

“This case is an unsurprising politically-motivated move from longtime opponents of sensible immigration policy on a program that is working exceptionally well. For United We Dream leaders and young immigrants across the country, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [program] has been a resounding success and the result of a hard-earned political victory by the immigrant youth movement,” Praeli said.

“We are confident that the legal basis for DACA is solid. Over 100 law professors have already said that the president has the authority to enact DACA and leaders from both political parties have already weighed in on the matter,” Praeli went on to say.

Writing for the Huffington Post, David Leopold, the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said even if O’Connor rules against DACA “the question is not whether ICE can exercise discretion, but when.”

Leopold expanded on his comment at the Huffington Post:

Even if this judge rules in Crane’s favor — which appears likely — and even if his ruling is later sustained all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, at most the Department of Homeland Security will have to add another unnecessary bureaucratic process — at taxpayer expense — to the DACA process and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. As the judge wrote, “However, DHS’s ability to exercise its discretion at later stages in the removal process by, for example, cancelling the Notice to Appear or moving to dismiss the removal proceedings is not at issue in the present case, and nothing in this Order limits DHS’s discretion at later stages of the removal process.”

“So rest assured, DACA is alive and well,” Leopold went on to say.

Oscars Academy Just Might Be Getting More Latino Members

Oscars Academy Just Might Be Getting More Latino Members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that votes for the Oscars, is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male, according to a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation. Blacks make up about 2 percent of the academy, and Latinos make up even less than that.

So what are some of things that could possibly go wrong when the Academy is almost entirely white?

Earlier this year, the Oscar ceremony’s “In Memoriam” reel that features actors who have passed away in the past 12-months left out actress Lupe Ontiveros. The Mexican-American actress worked steadily throughout her 35 year career and her credits included films like “Selena,” “Real Women Have Curves,” “The Goonies” and “El Norte.” 

But she was overlooked.

Members of the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) recently met with representatives of the Academy to discuss ways in which to increase Latino representation amongst members of the Academy.

The meeting was requested by members of the NLMC after outcry from the Latino community arose regarding Ontiveros’ exclusion from the ‘In Memoriam’ reel, and a desire to discuss their concern about the lack of diversity in the Academy’s membership.

“We had a very positive discussion, and reached accord on a number of issues and we believe that the Academy representatives are earnest in working with us to address our diversity concerns,” stated retired Congressman Esteban Torres, NLMC Chairman.

NLMC is working on building a list of qualified U.S. Latinos that the Academy can invite to become members.  The Academy will ultimately decide who they invite.

“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the NLMC and discuss much of the work the Academy does year-round to encourage new filmmakers and to support Latino artists,” said Academy President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson.”


Calif. Bill That Allows Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Moves Forward

Calif. Bill That Allows Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Moves Forward

Earlier this week, California assemblyman Luis A. Alejo, D-Salinas, introduced Assembly Bill 60 to members of the Transportation Committee to lobby their support for the legislation that would make some undocumented immigrants eligible to apply for driver’s licenses.

“AB 60 allows taxpayers who do not have a social security number to provide multiple identification documents deemed appropriate by the California Police Chiefs’ Association and the State Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as proof of California residency,” Alejo said in a statement.

“They can’t just come from another state and a get a license,” Alejo told Capitol Public Radio.”They have to show utility bills, property, tax documents. Other documents that show the person has lived here.”

Rebecca DeLaRosa, legislative director for Alejo, told Colorlines.com the proposed driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants would be the same to those provided to residents who can provide social security numbers. The bill actually prohibits the inclusion or the displaying of the applicant’s individual taxpayer identification number or other number associated with the identity document.

The Ventura County Star has more details from Monday’s Assembly Transportation Committee meeting:

On a 12-1 vote that included the support of two Republicans, the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday approved this year’s version of a bill that has either stalled in the Legislature or been vetoed by the governor each year since 2001.

“This is the year for the licenses to become law in California,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, after the vote.

Alejo, the author of AB 60, noted that for the first time the bill has a Republican co-author, has the prospect of receiving significant bipartisan backing and is close to receiving support from the California Police Chiefs Association. Just as important, it is being debated following a Field Poll finding earlier this year that showed public opinion has shifted on the issue and that a majority of voters now supports such a law.

There are an estimated 2 million undocumented motorists nation wide who are currently driving, according to the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. California also has the highest number of undocumented immigrants in the nation and it leads the country in the number of drivers in the state.

AB 60 has a promising outlook compared to similar bills previously introduced by termed-out assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who proposed driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants eight different times

Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at California State University, Los Angeles, told the Sacremento Bee earlier this year that “Latinos have never been in a better position” to send a license bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

“You never know what Jerry is going to do with it, though,” Regalado said. “He remains kind of a befuddlement to predict.”

In October 2012, Brown signed legislation to grant DREAMers granted deferred action to apply for a driver’s license. Brown also signed legislation in 2011 that allows young people who entered the country without authorization as minors and attended California high schools to apply for college financial aid.

The police chief in Los Angeles, the city with the most undocumented immigrants in the country, also supports granting licenses to those without social security numbers. (I should note Beck believes in a separate drivers license to immigrants.)

The measure next goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

If the measure becomes law, California would become the fifth state, joining Washington, New Mexico, Utah and Illinois, to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

Hospitals Caught ‘Deporting’ Sick, Undocumented Immigrants [Video]

Hospitals Caught 'Deporting' Sick, Undocumented Immigrants [Video]

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been deported back to their country of origin by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. According to a recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period because they were ineligible for public insurance as a result of their immigration status.

The report published by the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) at Seton Hall University School of Law and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) cites more than 800 cases of attempted or actual medical deportations across the country in recent years, including: a nineteen-year-old girl who died shortly after being wheeled out of a hospital back entrance typically used for garbage disposal and transferred to Mexico; a car accident victim who died shortly after being left on the tarmac at an airport in Guatemala; and a young man with catastrophic brain injury who remains bed-ridden and suffering from constant seizures after being forcibly deported to his elderly mother’s hilltop home in Guatemala.

“When immigrants are in need of ongoing medical care, they find themselves at the crossroads of two systems that are in dire need of reform—health care and immigration law. Aside from emergency care, hospitals are not reimbursed by the government for providing ongoing treatment for uninsured immigrant patients. Therefore, many hospitals are engaging in de facto deportations of immigrant patients without any governmental oversight or accountability,” Lori A. Nessel, director of CSJ said in a statement.

“This type of situation is ripe for abuse.” Nessel went on to say.

Chicago Fast Food and Retail Workers Strike

Chicago Fast Food and Retail Workers Strike

Hundreds of Chicago fast food and retails workers walked off the job this morning in a one-day strike to demand wage hikes and union rights. The walk-out is part of an accelerating trend of labor actions by low-wage, non-union workers at some of the country’s largest corporate chains stores and restaurants.

The Fight for 15 campaign, named for its target wage hike, has been organizing workers for months to pull off today’s strike. Organizers expect employees of downtown Chicago chains including McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Sears and Victoria’s Secret to join the action.

The Chicago strike comes on the heels the recent Black Friday Walmart worker actions and several similar walk-outs by New York City fast food workers in November and again earlier this month. Fast food and retail workers are often paid the minimum wage—$8.25 in Illinois—and many say their employers refuse to schedule them for enough hours.

“At the end of the day, it feels like I’ve done all of this to help everyone else, to help the store, help the managers, help the customers, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is looking out for me.” Macy’s employee Krystal Maxie-Collins told Josh Eidelson of Salon, who broke news of the strike last night. Eidelson writes:

Maxie-Collins, a mother of four who works part-time for the state minimum wage of $8.25 plus a commission, said she had initially been hesitant about the strike because of the risk of retaliation. But “what we are fighting for, the reason for doing it, kind of overrode the fear of doing it.” “Usually the things that are worth it,” she added, “you have to sacrifice for.”

The strikes emerge as minimum-wage service jobs fill the labor market space vacated by recession-time losses. According to a report by the National Employment Law Project, federal employment data reveals that 43 percent of all job growth in the last two years of so-called economic recovery are concentrated in service fields. More broadly, while low-wage jobs accounted for 21 percent of losses during the recession, they made up nearly 60 percent of labor market growth in the recovery. The inverse was true for mid-wage jobs.

As I noted after the first New York fast food strike last year, workers in the growing service sector tend to be women and people of color.

This new economy is populated by an increasingly non-white labor force. The average fast food worker is about 30 years old, female and, as with low-wage work in general, likely to be a person of color. In 2011, 28 percent of working black women and over 31 percent of working Latinas had jobs in the service sector, compared to about 20 percent of white women.

Further, black and Latino workers are concentrated in the lowest-paying jobs in the service sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

While most agree that the workers are a long way from winning wage increases, the community-based and non-union labor organizations leading the targeted, day-long walk-outs intend to bruise companies like Walmart and McDonald’s with a series of actions around the county. The corporations pull in billions in profits and generally pay employees as little as they’re legally allowed.

The actions have the financial support of the Service Employees International Union. In both Chicago and New York, workers say they hope to form a union.

“Fight for 15, seeks to put money back in the pockets of the 275,000 men and women who work hard in the city’s fast food and retail outlets, but still can’t afford basic necessities,” organizers said in a statement. “If workers were paid more, they’d spend more, helping to get Chicago’s economy moving again.”

Comedian Hasan Minhaj Takes On CNN’s Boston Manhunt Coverage

Comedian Hasan Minhaj Takes On CNN's Boston Manhunt Coverage

Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj stars in a new video released today that mocks CNN’s coverage during the Boston marathon bomber manhunt. The video is part of a series by the Los Angeles based sketch comedy group Goatface and was co-written by Minhaj and Afghan-American comedian Fahim Anwar.

Last week CNN correspondent John King, citing multiple “exclusive” sources, falsely reported authorities had arrested the bombing suspect. King described the suspect as a “dark skinned” man but an hour later in turned out the information was completely false.

The video mocks some of the false reporting and makes references to some of real life results that resulted from the misinformation.

The video was directed by: Aristotle Athiras
Written by: Hasan Minhaj, Fahim Anwar
Starring: Hasan Minhaj, Asif Ali, Fahim Anwar, Aristotle Athiras, Rory Scovel, Rob Gleeson, Jake Weisman

Mothers of Young Men Killed by NYPD Call on Musicians to Write Songs for Justice

Mothers of Young Men Killed by NYPD Call on Musicians to Write Songs for Justice

Today, the Justice Committee released a video message from mothers of young men killed by the NYPD that calls on music artists to submit lyrics or songs dedicated to justice for the families. 

“To the artists, I say: We need to hear what is it that I can not express with my voice, or that my son can not express with his voice because he’s not here. So I would like for the artist to bring that pain out that I hold inside from my sons death,” says Margarita Rosario who’s son was killed by an officer in 1995. 

The following mothers were featured in the video:

Artists can participate by writing 4 - 8 bars of lyrics to be used in a collaborative song or creating an original piece dedicated to the mothers. The submission deadline is July 1, 2013. For more information, artists can contact the Justice Committee at info@justicecommittee.org.

The video also announced an action outside of the NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza on May 10th, 4:30 to “call for justice and reforms.”

“We ask all parents who lost a loved one to any form of violence to stand in the streets with other parents whose children were killed by the police.” 

The Justice Committee was founded in 1983 as the NYC chapter of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights. Today the groups says their members include “poor, working class and middle class people of color.”

On Immigration, Points Of Conflict Crystallize As Senators Plunge Into Debate

On Immigration, Points Of Conflict Crystallize As Senators Plunge Into Debate

For updates as we work through the bill’s details, follow our What’s in the Bill tag.

The immigration reform bill introduced last week has already come under close scrutiny by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which today held its third hearing on the legislation in five days. While some of the content of the hearings edged toward demagoguery, much of the questioning revealed real points of conflict that will likely guide the committee amendment process in early May. The main policy questions about the bill are largely the same now as they were before it was released. They center on the rigidity of the so-called “border triggers” and Republican ambivalence around provisions that provide the Department of Homeland Security discretion to stop deportations or admit people to a path to citizenship.

The bill introduced last week by a bipartisan group of Senators will open the possibility of citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants currently living without papers in the United States. But to get there, it first requires that Homeland Security reach a set of benchmarks to expand an already bellicose border enforcement infrastructure.

In today’s hearing, Republicans said that the legislation leaves the Secretary of Homeland Security too much power to verify over verifying the security of the border.

“Once the Secretary certifies that the security and fencing plans are substantially deployed, operational and completed, green cards are allocated to those here illegally,” said ranking committee member, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. But, he added, “There’s not much of a definition of substantially in the bill,”

On border security, the legislation sets high targets and allocates $6 to $7 billion in new border spending for fencing, cameras, drones and 3,500 border patrol guards. It also increases criminal prosecutions of people trying to cross. Ultimately, the bill establishes as a benchmark that immigration authorities achieve “effective control” of the border, defined as stopping at least 90 percent of attempted crossings in certain areas. If the Secretary does not certify these are met, none of those on the path to citizenship will receive a green card.

Cesar Chavez’s Son and 70K Others Urge The Times to Drop the I-Word

Cesar Chavez's Son and 70K Others Urge The Times to Drop the I-Word

On Tuesday afternoon dozens of activists gathered in front of the New York Times building to urge the newspaper to stop using the word “illegal” to describe undocumented immigrants. Demonstrators were joined by Cesar Chavez’s son, Fernando Chavez, and Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of Define American, who delivered 70,000 signatures demanding the Times drop the i-word.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press announced they no longer recommend journalists use the term “illegal immigrant” when referring to immigrants in the United States without legal permission. The AP now joins other major journalism outlets that don’t use the term, including ABC News, USA Today, NBC and CNN.

The New York Times however continues to the term “illegal immigrant” and has only announced that they are “reconsidering” how they use the term.

Check out images from the demonstration below.

(If you’re accessing this page on a mobile device and don’t see any content below please scroll down and view this page with “desktop view.”)

Obama to Deliver Keynote at Planned Parenthood Annual Gala

Obama to Deliver Keynote at Planned Parenthood Annual Gala

President Obama will deliver the keynote address at Planned Parenthood’s annual gala on Thursday.

More details from Planned Parenthood’s press release below:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced today that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s annual gala dinner in Washington DC on Thursday, April 25. The “Time For Care” dinner, attended by Planned Parenthood’s supporters and national and local leaders from across the country, will honor champions of women’s health.

“President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “He understands that access to birth control and preventive health care are economic issues for women and their families. We fought alongside him to ensure that women’s health access was expanded in the landmark Affordable Care Act, and now we have to fight hard to ensure that the full promise of health care reform is realized for millions of women. We are honored to have President Obama join us at our ‘Time for Care’ Gala at this pivotal moment for women’s health.”

At the event, hosted by new Planned Parenthood Youth Ambassador Rocsi Diaz of Entertainment Tonight, Planned Parenthood will present the legendary Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer with PPFA’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award, for her lifelong commitment to empowering women and men to talk openly and honestly about sex and sexual health. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be honored with the “Care. No Matter What.” Award for his dedication to protecting women’s health care in the City of Los Angeles. The evening will also feature a special Maggie Award for Media Excellence honoring Lena Dunham of the HBO program Girls for her realistic and honest portrayal of the complex issues facing young women today, and a special Partner of the Year Award presented to Tumblr.

Obama previously spoke at a Planned Parenthood event in July 2007. Video of his speech is at the top of the page.

Reddit: Sorry for Shoving Missing Student Into Boston ‘Witch Hunt’

Reddit: Sorry for Shoving Missing Student Into Boston 'Witch Hunt'

Reddit General Manager Erik Martin has apologized for the social news website’s community reaction after the Boston Marathon bombings led to what the group called “online witch hunts.”

In the days after the Boston marathon violence Reddit users sprung in to action to do their own investigating in hopes of identifying the bombers. The site’s online community quickly identified a number of suspects in posts published on the site, including one that thousands of users “up-voted” to get on the front page of the site so hundreds of thousands of visitors would see the story.

One of the more popular posts on Reddit falsely identified Sunil Tripathi, a 22-year-old student at Brown University who’s been missing since last month. Tripathi has an Indian father and an American mother and that seemed to be enough to make him the most wanted man on the internet for a couple of hours.

Within minutes of Tripathi being labeled on social media as a suspect his family began receving hate messages and were forced to take down a Facebook page they had started to help find their missing son. News reporters also gathered in front of their home looking to speak to the family of the supposed bomber.

“It seems this is just the ugly underbelly of viral social media,” sister Sangeeta Tripathi told NBC News. “But a lot of stir can be created through just a complete accusatory and unsubstantiated effort.”

In a post on the reddit blog titled “Reflections on the Recent Boston Crisis” Martin apologized on behalf of the Reddit community for misidentifying suspects. His blog posts also notes Reddit reached out to the Tripathi family to personally apologize:

However, though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties. The reddit staff and the millions of people on reddit around the world deeply regret that this happened. We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Tripathi, as have various users and moderators. We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure. We hope that this painful event will be channeled into something positive and the increased awareness will lead to Sunil’s quick and safe return home. We encourage everyone to join and show your support to the Tripathi family and their search.

A few years ago, reddit enacted a policy to not allow personal information on the site. This was because “let’s find out who this is” events frequently result in witch hunts, often incorrectly identifying innocent suspects and disrupting or ruining their lives. We hoped that the crowdsourced search for new information would not spark exactly this type of witch hunt. We were wrong. The search for the bombers bore less resemblance to the types of vindictive internet witch hunts our no-personal-information rule was originally written for, but the outcome was no different.

This crisis has reminded all of us of the fragility of people’s lives and the importance of our communities, online as well as offline. These communities and lives are now interconnected in an unprecedented way. Especially when the stakes are high we must strive to show good judgement and solidarity. One of the greatest strengths of decentralized, self-organizing groups is the ability to quickly incorporate feedback and adapt. reddit was born in the Boston area (Medford, MA to be precise). After this week, which showed the best and worst of reddit’s potential, we hope that Boston will also be where reddit learns to be sensitive of its own power.

Reddit users have now started several threads on the site to help the Tripathi parents find their missing son. “We Owe Sunil Tripathi’s Family an Outpouring of Love and An Apology. We Brought Unintentional Pain To Them Tonight. Let’s Find Their Son,” reads one headline that’s been up-voted close to a thousand times.

Now if only the NY Post would apologize for misidentifying two suspects on the cover of their publication.

Sen. Durbin Schools Anti-Immigration Leader, Reminds Him Voters Rejected Self Deportation

Sen. Durbin Schools Anti-Immigration Leader, Reminds Him Voters Rejected Self Deportation

Kris Kobach, the conservative Kansas politician who helped draft a number of the country’s most draconian anti-immigration bills, including Arizona’s SB 1070, got schooled today as he testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform.

Kobach, who is currently Secretary of State of Kansas and is associated with several anti-immigration groups, argued before the committee for policies that lead to “self deportation,” the idea that undocumented immigrants will leave the country if laws make life sufficiently unlivable. This strategy is also referred to as “attrition through enforcement.”

“Self deportation is something Arizona has proven that if you ratchet up the penalties for violating the law,” Kobach said, “people will choose to leave and it has been proven that they do that.”

But at least one Democrat, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, was not having it today.

“What we have basically said is, ultimately the voters have the last word. The voters had the last word on self-deportation on November 6th,” Durbin said, referring to Mitt Romney’s resounding loss at the polls, in part because of his stance on immigration and his use of the term “self deportation” during the campaign.

“We’re beyond that now,” Durbin added. “I mean, you can stick with that theory as long as you like.”

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